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Rich Tehrani
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Telecom Growing Nicely

December 5, 2007

It’s a good time to be in telecom. With all the housing gloom and doom it is nice to see that at least the telecom market is doing exceedingly well. Of course you have to pick your battles… Consumer VoIP is a rough space to be in (just ask Vonage) but companies focusing on the enterprise are as happy as pigs – well let’s keep this semi clean – Pigs in subprime mortgages.   Case in point, after a sluggish second quarter in 2007, enterprise telephony equipment manufacturers saw an 11 percent jump in worldwide sales in 3Q07 to reach $2.6 billion, according to a recent study.   “The Big Three (Avaya, Cisco, and Nortel) had excellent quarters, all growing well into the double digits,” said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data at Infonetics Research.   Worldwide sales of service provider next-gen voice equipment are up 5 percent in 3Q07 from 2Q07 to $956.4 million, says Infonetics Research in its "Service Provider VoIP and IMS Equipment and Subscribers" report.   “The bump this quarter was partially due to seasonal factors, as the third quarter tends to be strong, but also because of increased demand across the board, even in the TDM segment.

Off to the Voice Peering Forum New York

December 4, 2007

Tomorrow I am off to the Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007 hosted by Stealth Communications. Shrihari Pandit the VPF Founder asked me to help with some video reporting which is always very exciting. If you know Hunter Newby from Telx, you know Hunter has been evangelizing video interviews for at least a year. So tomorrow I get the privilege of being a reporter and instead of the printed word I will be dealing with the video frame.   When you get used to dealing with words all day your mind seems to know that when you interview you can go back and modify things later.

Open Communications is the Future

December 3, 2007

If there is one thing Avaya is doing exceedingly well it is courting developers. Out of all the PBX vendors, Avaya has decided they will be the leader in this space. Cisco and Inter-Tel (now Mitel U.S.) have also done an admirable job but no one has matched the six thousand plus members in the Avaya DevConnect program.   Why is this important you ask? In the computer industry the size of the developer program is what determined the success of a vendor.

Verizon Wireless Opens Up

November 27, 2007

In the history of United States communications, this day ranks right up there with the day of the Carterfone (Wikipedia) decision allowing any device to work on AT&T’s PSTN network. Today, almost 30 years later, Verizon chose to tell the world they will open up their wireless network to devices other than their own.   The news may be even more surprising in light of the fact that Skype has been petitioning the FCC for this exact thing. How often does Skype agree with the carriers?   Another surprise is the fact that Verizon is the first carrier to make such an announcement. Remember, this is the same company that routinely cripples the current devices they sell consumers.   Amazingly, this development is exactly what I have been asking for.

WiFi, Autism Link

November 24, 2007

For obvious reasons I became alarmed when I read an article linking WiFi and autism (article intentionally not linked). I told some friends and relatives about the report and they all seemed concerned and asked for links to the story.   I should point out that when I heard about the link I thought it odd that WiFi was singled out as there are so many wireless signals in our houses from electric cables, cellular base stations, FM transmitters, satellite radio and TV. The list goes on and on in fact. For example cordless phones should be roughly equivalent to WiFi signals.   In any event, I did some post-Thanksgiving research and came across this article in the Financial Post which says another website has debunked the study.

The Latest VoIP Security Threat

November 24, 2007

For years I have been covering VoIP security and throughout this time it has been a one-sided conversation as there have been few documented cases of VOIP security attacks. Companies are generally not too happy to discuss VoIP security breaches so this news shouldn’t be very surprising to anyone.   In the absence of news regarding companies who have had voice or video conversations compromised, vendors in the VoIP security market have been proactive. Some such as Sipera have revealed vulnerabilities of existing equipment and more recently one person has even released a proof-of concept program named SIPtap with the goal of showing how easy it is -- once a program is slipped onto a corporate computer via a Trojan horse or some other means, to record enterprise VoIP calls as WAV files for later analysis.   The person behind this proof of concept program is Peter Cox who co-founded and was CTO of BorderWare, a company in the VoIP security and session border control space. I first wrote about the company in August, 2005 in a blog entry titled Secure VoIP and I covered them more recently in an entry titled Borderware's SBC Strategy.   Cox left BorderWare and has his own VoIP Consultancy which will be up and running in 2008 according to PC World.   The issue of protecting VoIP calls is likely something corporate decision-makers gloss over all too often and just because companies are not reporting more security incidents, does not mean they aren’t happening.   In the end, if you are responsible for the IP communications infrastructure of your company you need to be 100% up to date on the latest solutions on the market.   For this reason it is essential you study the problem as thoroughly as time allows and network with others in the space.   One way to do this is to attend TMC's Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in Miami, January 23-25, 2008 where there is a session titled Security Challenges in the Enterprise, which takes place Wednesday – January 23, 2008, 1:30-2:15pm EST.   As more and more crucial information gets carried over internet protocol networks, the incentive to eavesdrop on these conversations will grow dramatically.

Why Verizon Sued Vonage

November 23, 2007

I receive many questions about patents and why one company sues another. Patent portfolios are like nuclear weapons – if you have them, you are less likely to end up in a war. I was reminded of this idea as I read Ike Elliot’s Telecosm blog where he has an entry focusing on why Verizon is picking on smaller companies to sue.   Here is an excerpt:  
How does a patent holder decide who to target? They usually consider the following:
1.

Cisco VARs Feeling Microsoft Pressure

November 10, 2007

I saw an article in CRN titled Cisco VoIP VARs Feeling Microsoft Pressure and I found it interesting that Cisco VARs are having to deal with customer doubt regarding selling unified communications solutions.   Imagine this news is coming less than a month after I wrote Microsoft’s Big Unified Communications Launch which discussed Microsoft’s official entry into the space with a Bill Gates cameo appearance in San Francisco.   What amazes me most is that Cisco has shipping products and is such a dominant player and the threat of Microsoft entering the Unified Communications space is slowing down the networking giant’s telecom sales.   One wonders if Cisco VARs are having such problems are the VARs of other PBX players feeling the pain as well? Many of the other players in the market are doing their best to embrace the Microsoft Unified Communications strategy so perhaps this challenge is unique to Cisco and Avaya.   Why do I throw Avaya into the mix? Only because they haven’t tied themselves closely to the Microsoft UC strategy as of yet.   At the last ITEXPO this past September in Los Angles, CA, approximately one in five VARs I spoke with said Microsoft’s entry into the space would change the competitive landscape. Most were not concerned.

ITEXPO East 2008 Brochure Available

November 8, 2007

Ditech Networks

November 8, 2007

In the many IP communications demos I hear each year I am consistently amazed at just how good the quality of VoIP can be. With today’s wideband codecs the sound is remarkably better than the PSTN. This is especially true when I listen to 3D stereo VoIP.   The first issue of Internet Telephony magazine which was the first publication in the world focusing on IP communications came out in February, 1998 and in all the years since we have seen the IP communications space explode with growth. Sure there have been ups and downs but we can safely say at this point the technology behind internet telephony has changed the world for the better.   But this does not mean every VoIP call today sounds fantastic.
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